Inside the head of a designer

Police Pledge
March 31, 2009, 10:08 pm
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I’ve been analysing the work of the police the last few days after a close friends flat was broken into which brought me to this: The pledge on the directgov website that states the Police force will listen to your concerns, act on these concerns and then keep you informed of progress.

Having had my flat robbed before and been involved in a witness case I would say that this is a bit of a false promise. I was never kept informed over case details and found it very hard to find the right person to talk to regarding a specific case but perhaps this is their new pledge.

Yesterday the forensics visited my friends flat who were actually very helpful, they gave us advice as they worked, showing us points of evidence and explaining how many people had broken in, what type of crime it was and what they were looking for.  I’m eager to see how this case pans out as we have discovered a bank card being used but wonder whether this will be fully followed up, and how we will be informed of updates in the case.

Have you been involved with the police before?  How did you find their service?

London Visit
March 31, 2009, 9:46 pm
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So this week I was in London to visit a few places and people.  Visit Flickr London photos here.

I’m mostly going to use this blog to talk about the Affluenza Exhibition talk I attended last Tuesday. Not being used to London yet and trying to get from one side of the city to another we were late so unfortunately missed the first talk which was by Architect Alex Shirley-Smith who was talking about treehousing as one pertinent solution to a happier, healthier and more sustainable lifestyle option for our global community.

Next was Graphic Designer Alex Ostrowski, having seen his work online was quite excited to see the happy chap in person. He seems pretty happy. His work is interesting, basing his final year at Bristol on the topic of happiness, Alex searched for this in Denmark and created the ‘Happiest Book on The World’ which detailed his trip. My favourite of his is trying to get a tower block to use their windows to create a smile. It didn’t work but in his quest to do so he met locals and discovered community spirit. I didn’t get a chance to look at his RSA submission which he won with his project I am here but it was interesting to see a graphic designer crossing over into elements of service design;

‘I approached The Frenchay Brain Injury Rehabilitation Centre in Bristol to see how I might use design to help in some way. It emerged that all patients suffer from post-traumatic amnesia and experience confusion in their sense of time, place and person. The term for this lost understanding is disorientation, something the unit is responsible for regaining with patients. Through speaking with staff, we established that the process of re-orientation contained some inefficiency and needed addressing. I worked closely with staff to establish an appropriate colour system to bring holistic navigation to the unit, which we could apply to patients’ timetables, orientation boards, and the building itself’

Next was Luke Nicholson, founding Director of More Associates. Luke discussed his work and the launch of his new project ‘Kept – things don’t have to be rubbish.’ Kept is a movement celebrating the stuff that can be kept in the world.

‘The world has got a bit rubbish recently. Our relationship with stuff has become temporary, throw away, on a losing tip. Now is our moment to start making and using things better. The first step is easy: tell the world about the stuff you treasure, why you care, and why you Kept it!’

I didn’t speak out at the end but I got a chance to talk to Luke in the pub across the road after the event. I was intrigued about how kept will spread and we began to discuss guerrilla groups being run in different cities. Perhaps we could spray onto dumped objects the logo (a project that echoes a project undertaken in my first year by some class mates to highlight reusable waste on the street) or perhaps running a team of repairers on bicycles who could take your clothes/objects to repair shops, or they could have the skills themselves. It’s an interesting idea and I look forward to see how it will develop on a wide scale.

Project H Design
March 26, 2009, 8:59 pm
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I’ve been meaning to get around about blogging this.  Here’s an excerpt from their ‘manifesto’.

‘Product design initiatives for Humanity, Habitats, Health, and Happiness.
Project H Design is a charitable organization that supports, inspires, and delivers life-improving humanitarian product design solutions. We champion industrial design as a tool to address social issues, a vehicle for global life improvement, and a catalyst for individual and community empowerment.
Project H Design encourages the reorientation of the design industry towards a more socially-impactful and humanitarian entity through a variety of Initiatives that include design thinking, production and distribution, funding, design academics, and local chapter projects.’

In London on Tuesday after the Affluenza talk I met David, a Product design graduate from Suffolk one half of ‘SteelandStevens’ and we began to discuss this movement.  It is something very close to my heart that designers should be using their skills for social change.  What needs to happen is that governments and public organisations need to realise the potential of designers to find lasting solutions to problems they have been trying to tackle for years and invest in their skills.  What happens often is that members of organisations can be wrapped up in red tape and never really allowed to truly be creative.  I think its a great time to be a designer, there is a lot of co creation happening, a lot of lines are becoming blurred between the different disciplines of design, people are working together to create viable and sustainable solutions for the future.  The power of the designer needs to be recognised but in a time of recession, will anyone invest?

Here is part one and two of Project H founder, Emily Pilloten’s talk at the CEDIM:

Cinespace Project
March 26, 2009, 5:45 pm
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Thought I’d post this. Its dated last year but Urban Learning Space informed me via twitter that they are looking for people to test this in Glasgow? Any takers?

You can visit them here

Invest in design graduates
March 26, 2009, 5:24 pm
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thanks to redjotter via twitter

An article in design week:

‘New Deal of the Mind coalition is calling on the Government to invest in creativity and support the generation of art and design students who are graduating in the recession.’

Read it here

Personally I think this is a very important time for governments to realise the potential of designers and their ability to innovate, especially within the service sector.

Softspot-designers for change
March 11, 2009, 3:11 am
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Softspot an initiative for designers to use their skills for social change.  Take a look for yourself.

James Boyle – The Public Domain
March 10, 2009, 6:56 pm
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I’m looking forward to reading this, missed the RSA talk though which is finishing up about now.

“With a clear analysis of issues ranging from Thomas Jefferson’s philosophy of innovation to musical sampling, from Internet file sharing and genetic engineering to patented peanut butter sandwiches, this articulate and charming book brings a positive new perspective to important cultural and legal debates, including what Boyle calls the “range wars of the information age”: today’s heated battles over intellectual property.”

The book will be commercially released, but you can download a free pdf of it here

Cardboard Mania
March 10, 2009, 4:08 pm
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Nothing, a new commercial creative agency has opened in Amsterdam and their office is largely made from cardboard structures.  I was laughing last night with a friend about how every design student must of made a cardboard chair at some time in their educational career, this is one step further.  I’m thinking of the fun I could have now with cardboard, what a great way to get your creative juices going and team work as a new agency, an empty space and a skip of cardboard.  Read the article here

The tinternet

Worth the hour watch

Minority Report
March 10, 2009, 3:05 am
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Wow. In my quest to figure out the technology aspect for one of my ongoing projects, I came across this.  I find it very interesting the point that Jeff Han is making about how we are restricted to the shape and design of computers at the moment, and how gestures can be alot more intuitive than currently existing computers.

Jump over to my other project wii sign – do we need words to follow my progress.